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5 ways to save money, improve quality of life with a manufactured home

By Kristen Price

For the Cottonwood Coves BrandView

Published: Thursday, July 31 2014 10:00 a.m. MDT

Manufactured homes are now more customizable than ever before.

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These days, retirement isn’t all about traveling the world and living in the lap of luxury. In fact, according to Pension Rights Center, the median annual income from all sources for adults age 65 and older was just $19,939 for individuals and $33,118 for households. With these limited resources, retirees need more affordable housing options. And now that home prices and construction costs are picking up, those options can be tough to find.

That’s where manufactured homes can present a convenient and cost-efficient solution. Not only are manufactured homes faster and cheaper to build, but they also save on ongoing maintenance and household costs. In fact, there are several economically appealing reasons to go manufactured.

You control the construction process

If you’ve ever built a “stick built” home, you know that delays are status quo and contractors can be tough to work with. On the other hand, a manufactured home takes the human error element from the building process, as the materials are made on assembly lines with the manufacturing process ensuring efficiency. Since these homes are created in enclosed factories, typical construction delays from weather or natural disasters are less likely to affect your timetable. And an efficient timetable means added cost-savings.

Building costs are cheaper

If you’re looking to save money, a manufactured home is an easy choice. According to the Manufactured Housing Institute, the average cost per square foot of a manufactured home in 2013 was $43.54, compared with $93.70 per square foot for a site-built home. Depending on the location of the home, the cost difference may be even greater. With less income going toward the mortgage, that leaves owners with more flexibility to cover daily expenses.

They save energy

These days, manufactured homes are up with the times. Factories producing these homes now use high-efficiency appliances like ENERGY STAR, and high manufacturing standards ensure tight construction to promote heating and cooling efficiency. Homes that are built with energy efficiency in mind can save owners some substantial dough each year. According to a North Carolina A&T University study, an energy-efficient manufactured home saved 55 percent more energy overall than one that was conventionally built.

You can still get the design you want

If you think saving money and having your dream home are mutually exclusive, think again. Manufactured homes have become much more dynamic in recent years than the old mobile homes you might be accustomed to. In fact, these days, modular homes may even have two or more stories, and many owners customize their home with porches, garages, stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors, granite countertops and all the sleek designs you’d expect in a site-built home.

You still get the location

If visions of trailer parks haunt your mind, you should take a look at today’s manufactured home communities. Not only are there many beautiful and well-cared for neighborhoods, but many are also gated and secure. For retirees, these neighborhoods may be even more appealing, as expenses like landscaping, trash removal and snow plowing are covered. Without these expenses, owners are free to enjoy the neighborhood — and a little more cash in their pockets.

A journalism graduate from Brigham Young University, Kristen has experience writing in a variety of fields, including art and culture, health and fitness and financial and real estate services. Kristen has written for USA Today, SFGate and the Knot.

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